Bill Omeltchenko, a longtime Great Neck resident and Kings Point Hall of Fame Track & Field coach, died peacefully on April 24, at age 88. A memorial service was held at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) on May 1.
Coach Omeltchenko was also a professor in the Department of Humanities at the USMMA for 30 years. As the academy’s longtime head Track & Field coach, he is credited with establishing the indoor program. As a professor, he taught primarily Spanish and French. He retired from teaching at the rank of captain in the United States Maritime Service in 1987.
Omeltchenko continued to lead the Track & Field program until 2000, when he retired after a very successful 43-year coaching career in which he mentored numerous NCAA National Qualifiers and All-Americans that competed for the Mariners.
Coach O graduated from the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1950 with a degree in Linguistics, and later received his Master of Arts and Doctorate degree in Romance Philology from Columbia University. He was inducted into the CCNY Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976, and the USMMA Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992.
An exceptional athlete who competed in one of the first Maccabiah Games in Israel, Omeltchenko later became a world-class race walker. He also served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
He was an avid tennis player, who was often seen at Memorial Field with his group of close friends.
Omeltchenko is best remembered for the many lives he touched.
He moved to Great Neck in 1960 with his wife, Maria, who taught Spanish at Great Neck South High School. She passed away in 1993. He is survived by his four children, Billy Jr. (Tonia), Alexis Daniels (Larry), Chris and Vicky, and his six grandchildren, Nicholas, Nathaniel and Madeline Omeltchenko and Sophia, Alexander and Laurence Daniels.
The family would like any tax-deductible donations made to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association & Foundation Inc. (Tax ID # 11-6037948) in memory of Coach Bill Omeltchenko to be contributed to the USMMA Athletic Department by visiting www.usmmaaf.com/makeadonation or sending a check payable to USMMA AAF with Athletic Dept. noted in the memo to USMMA AAF, 300 Steamboat Rd., Kings Point, NY 11024.